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Day 29: De Queen, AR to Hot Springs, AR

89 Miles - Highway 70 Thru Small SW Arkansas Towns; Met Kelly Foshee In Hot Springs, AR - March 20, 2011


Southwest Arkansas In De Queen, I was hopeful that if I didn't have any major snags (headwind, poor road conditions, flat tires, etc.), Hot Springs, Arkansas, 90 miles away, was a reachable goal today.

My first picture was taken about 10 miles east of De Queen. It was a warm, humid and overcast morning.

Southwest Arkansas Lots of hills as I biked through rural sections of Sevier County and Howard County.
Dierks, AR Wall Trophies

Dierks, Arkansas

This convenience store in Dierks wins the award for the best convenience store. Why? Just look at all those wall trophies! They were all over the store: Deer, bucks, turkeys and is that one guy a bobcat? Or a lynx?

Newhope, Arkansas

Newhope, Arkansas

I rested in Newhope, Arkansas. Outside was Garry, a lifelong resident of Newhope who took interest in my ride. He told me about the towns I would ride through next: Daisy, Kirby and Glenwood. I told him about my annual Arkansas pilgrimage in the fall to attend a Razorbacks football game, but he said he's not interested much in college or professional sports. Rather, he's an avid hunter and fisherman. He has also spent a lot of time in Colorado, and recalled exploring many remote 4WD trails with his Jeep when he was younger. Just a really nice man - no surprise he's a lifetime Arkansan.
Arkansas Road
Between Kirby and Glenwood, I had some nice ups and downs. Nothing terrible, but enough to make it interesting.

Arkansas Scenery
A scenic mountain view near Glenwood, AR. My route went near the edges of the Ouachita Range.

Glenwood, Arkansas

In Glenwood, I met a retired man in front of a convenience store. He told me he spent many years working in California, then sold his house in 2006 before the real estate bubble burst, and returned to southwest Arkansas. With the large differences in housing and cost of living, he was able to move back here (where he grew up) and enjoys a very good retired life with a house and acreage he fully paid for.

Now the right side of my lower back had been bothering me earlier in the morning and was spasming by the afternoon. Often body parts, including my lower back, would hurt if I cycled for long periods of time, but this was different. And I knew why: Sometimes when I would walk my bike in grass or dirty pavement, I would lift the bike so the wheels weren't touching the ground, a superstitious and/or practical way to keep my tires away from anything that could cause a flat. Well, when I'd lift my bike, I'd usually do it by using most of my lower right back muscles, and it was hurting. Bad.

As I sat on a bench in front of that store in Glenwood, my lower back was locking up. I massaged my back as much as I could, and it hurt to make any movements, including raising myself up to stand. Interestingly, my back felt some relief once I mounted on the bike, but from here on out, I resolved to never lift my bike anymore.

Other than my back, I felt good and energetic. My odometer read 53 miles in Glenwood. It would be another 35 miles or so to Hot Springs.

Pearcy, Arkansas The shoulder narrowed for much of the way from Glenwood to Hot Springs, but I managed it well. In fact, past Bonnerdale, I sensed a pleasant descent for much of the way into Hot Springs. I was riding in the 14-16 mph range with ease.
Lake Hamilton, Arkansas Crossing Lake Hamilton on the west side of Hot Springs.
Red Roof Inn

Hot Springs, Arkansas

I biked across Hot Springs to the Red Roof Inn on the east side.

89 miles. Not bad. Exhausted.

Y'all this'z Kelly, Mah Warnderful Fren' From Sawthwest Arkunsaw!
Kelly in Arkansas

Meet Kelly, a country girl from Arkadelphia who drove an hour one way to meet me in Hot Springs. We originally met on Twitter (Her page: @KellyFoshee), and she had been tracking me since I left California. That evening Kelly generously bought me dinner and would help me so much more. Truly, this girl was my angel. My great helper.

Central Arkansas Route Dilemma

My original route plan was to ride into Little Rock, and have a celebration with my many friends in the city. But I was ambivalent about all the traffic, congestion and danger that would be involved with biking into a large town like Little Rock.

This is where Kelly's help came in. Tomorrow (Monday) I would take the day off and Kelly (who also had the work day off for spring break) would meet me again in Hot Springs and drive us to Little Rock to see friends in the evening. Then she'd drive me back to Hot Springs and I'd have a much safer route the next day, from Hot Springs to Pine Bluff. Thank you so much Kelly!

Quesadillas Kelly and I ate at a Chili's in Hot Springs.

Mmmmm. Those beautiful quesadillas with jalapenos were our appetizer.

Steve Kelly Our food! :D
Little Rock Tweet Up

With Kelly willing to drive tomorrow, I began to organize a Little Rock tweet-up. Many said they would attend. Woo-hoo! :)

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